For some carp fishing in winter, some deem as pointless, as carp are cold-blooded and the low temperatures do affect their behaviour. However, the dedicated anglers amongst us are rewarded by quieter banks, beautiful scenery and incredible satisfaction when you catch a winter carp. See below how to improve your chances of catching carp in the winter months:

Finding carp in winter

Tip 1.

Location is super important, in winter in the colder months carp like to shoal together, to locate these fish you will want to keep your eyes on the water as much as possible focusing on little patches of bubbles, knocking reed stems or the slightest of swirls.

PVA bags in winter

Tip 2.

If you haven’t seen any carp doing the above then your next option is to cast around with a single hookbait or PVA bag to try to find them. Often I will re-cast every hour or so in a different area each time until I hopefully land my bait right on them. Bites can still come quickly if you get your feeding and approach right.

Carp in winter

Tip 3.

Once water temperatures reach around 10 degrees the carp slow right down, once it reaches 4 degrees they just won’t devour bait like they normally would, this is why my go to approach in winter is a PVA bag. A PVA bag provides a small patch of bait accurately around your rig and entices them to your spot, which gives them a little bit of food but not too much that it reduces the chances of getting a bite from filling them up too much.

Casting rod in winter

Tip 4.

As an alternative to a PVA bag if the lake you are fishing is very silty or weedy a chod rig with a popped up ball of maggots provides a great presentation. Talking of maggots with a low number of silver fish, maggots can rarely be beaten as a winter carp bait. Of course, if you throw maggots into your local lake and the roach and rudd are devouring them you could be wasting your time.


Maggot clip

Tip 5.

To attach maggots to your rig you can use two methods, when fishing on the bottom I like to use a maggot clip for convenience.

Threading bait onto your hook

Alternatively if you want to use a pop up rig with maggots it can be better to use a length of cotton thread to secure your bait.


Using popped up maggot

Take a needle and slide your bait onto the thread before tying it off and attaching it to your hair rig. I like to put a piece of foam or a pop-up on the hair first so that the ball of maggots wriggles enticingly on top. The benefit of using a popped up bait is that it sits up and above the weeds, leaves and silt on the bottom which insures a good presentation on spots that aren’t so clean.


3ft shallow lake

Tip 6.

Shallow lakes warm up quicker than deep ones, so a mild winter day is normally best spent on a smaller shallower venue. Carp can still be caught from deep venues in winter, but it will likely be more challenging.


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